How to Use Free Google SMTP Server
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How to Use Free Google SMTP Server

Aside from using your hosting’s internal SMTP server to send emails, you can try using Google’s SMTP server as it’s reliable and free. In this tutorial, we will show you how to use Google SMTP and how to send emails using the server.

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What is SMTP?

Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP)  is a set of commands that directs the transfer of emails. When you send an email, it will be forwarded from your email client (such as Microsoft Outlook, Gmail, or Mozilla Thunderbird) to the SMTP server. The server will then relay the mail to the recipient’s email server.

The recipient will receive the mail once it’s downloaded from the email server via POP3 or IMAP. There are two types of SMTP servers — internal and external.

Although most hosting providers – like Hostinger offer an internal SMTP server. You can try using an external SMTP server, such as Google’s SMTP server. It provides several benefits that you might want to consider:

  • Reliable – Google SMTP server doesn’t use port 25 to avoid spam flagging. Hence, it gives better email deliverability.
  • Convenient – you don’t have to set up your own server (if you use VPS).
  • Secure – it requires two-factor authentication, and emails will be backed up in Google’s server.

Keep in mind that Google limits outgoing emails to 100/day. Regardless, having 3000 free emails/month is a great deal if your site has low email volumes.

How to Use Google SMTP Server?

In this section, we will show you how to send emails using Google’s SMTP server through a custom domain in Gmail or with a plugin in WordPress.

Before we continue, here is Google’s SMTP details:

  • SMTP server: smtp.gmail.com
  • SMTP username: Your full Gmail address, such as youremail@gmail.com
  • SMTP password: Your Gmail password.
  • SMTP port: 465 (SSL)/587 (TLS)
  • TLS/SSL: Required.

Using a Custom Domain

If you have a custom email address, the process to connect to Google’s SMTP server is simple. But first, make sure that you have an email address with a custom domain and a Gmail address.

Before proceeding, you need to prepare an app password – which will give your custom email address permission to access a Google account. Make sure that you’ve activated the two-factor authentication on the Gmail address beforehand.

Once you’ve obtained the app password, log in to your Gmail account and follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to the Settings by clicking the “gear icon” in the top right.
  2. Hit the Accounts tab and click on Add another email address.
    Adding another email address in Gmail.
  3. A pop-up window will appear. Fill the required information and press the Next Step button.
    filling the name and custom address on gmail dashboard
  4. Enter Google’s SMTP server, your Gmail address, and the app password you’ve created earlier in the respected fields.
    filling the google smtp server information on gmail
  5. A verification email will be sent to your custom email address. Open it and click the confirmation link.

That’s it! Now your custom email address has been linked with Google’s SMTP server. You can also start sending emails from the custom address through Gmail.

Using a WordPress Plugin

wp smtp mail plugin banner

Alternatively, you can send emails using Google’s SMTP server through a WordPress plugin. There are plenty of SMTP plugins, but in this tutorial, we will show you how to use WP Mail SMTP:

  1. Access your WordPress admin dashboard and go to Plugins -> Add New. Search for the “WP Mail SMTP by WPForms” plugin, then Install Now -> Activate.
  2. Navigate to WP Mail SMTP from your WordPress dashboard. Click on Settings. Fill in the From Name field and choose Gmail in the Mailer section.
    Changing the WP Mail SMTP settings.
  3. Don’t forget to check the “Set the return-path to match the From Email” checkbox to get notifications each time there’s a delivery issue.
  4. Scroll down, and you’ll see the Client ID and Client Secret fields. To fill them, you have to create a web application in your Google account.
  5. Open a new tab, go to Google API Console, and log in with your Google account.
  6. Click Create Project, create a Project Name, and hit Create.
  7. Then, select the API Library on the left side of the dashboard. Search for “Gmail API”.
    gmail api in the google api library
  8. Enable the API and click on Create Credentials.
  9. Answer the questions with the following: Gmail API -> Web browser (Javascript) -> User data. Proceed by clicking What credentials do I need?
    add credentials to gmail api
  10. A “Set up OAuth consent screen” window will appear. Click “Set up consent screen”.
  11. Pick your User Type. Fill the Application name with your website’s title.
  12. Then, fill the Authorized domains, Application Homepage link, Application Privacy Policy link, and Application Terms of Service link with your site’s address. Tweak any other settings if you prefer and then click Save.
  13. In the Credentials page, type in the Name and Authorized JavaScript origins. Fill this one with your site’s address as well. You will then need to enter the Authorized redirect URIs, which you can find in your WP Mail SMTP settings.
    create an oauth client id
  14. Go back to the WP Mail SMTP -> Settings on your WordPress dashboard and copy the Authorized redirect URI.
    copy wp mail smtp authorized redirect url
  15. Go back to APIs & Services page, paste the URL to the Authorized redirect URIs field in the Credentials section. Click Create.
  16. You will see a pop-up window containing the Client ID and Client Secret. Copy both and paste them to the WP Mail SMTP Settings page under the Gmail section. Don’t forget to press the Save Settings button.
    client id and client secret in wp mail smtp dashboard
  17. Press the “Allow plugin to send emails using your Google account” button next to the Authorization section.
  18. Connect your Gmail account and allow your website to manage it.
  19. Send a test email to make sure that everything works properly. This can be done in the WP Mail SMTP -> Email Test tab.
    sending test email in wp mail smtp plugin

If the email is successfully delivered, it will look like this:
wp mail smtp plugin test email delivered successfully

Conclusion

An SMTP server is essential in the mail delivery process — it’s responsible for transferring emails from an email client. That’s why using an external SMTP server like Google SMTP is an excellent choice since it provides a free and reliable solution, especially for sites with low mail volumes.

In this article, you’ve learned how to use the Google SMTP server in two ways — through a custom domain and using a WordPress plugin.

Do you have any questions regarding this topic? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

The Author

Author

Domantas G. / @domantas

Domantas leads the content and SEO teams forward with fresh ideas and out of the box approaches. Armed with extensive SEO and marketing knowledge, he aims to spread the word of Hostinger to every corner of the world. During his free time, Domantas likes to hone his web development skills and travel to exotic places.

Related tutorials

Author

Joven Reply

October 05 2017

It has an error, says, "Message body empty"

Author

Ben Johnson Reply

October 14 2017

When trying to send an email with my google account, I get this error message— CANNOT SEND MAIL the connection to the outgoing server “smtp.gmail.com” has failed. Additional outgoing mail servers can be configured for mail accounts in settings>

    Author

    Gagarin

    Replied on November 30 2017

    Have you done this: "Access for less secure apps can be easily turned on here."

Author

Kadahsh Reply

February 26 2018

The "SMTP Port Number" mentioned in Step I is wrong, it is '587', I followed the instructions literally and was getting Stack Trace error because of it, so i rechecked the settings changed the port number to 587 and then i was able to get the mails sent. Nice tutorial though Thanks!

    Author

    Domantas G.

    Replied on February 27 2018

    Hey Kadahsh, Thanks for pointing this out. Tutorial has been updated with a correct port number!

Author

kavya Reply

June 10 2019

Worked like charm! Thanks a lot for the detailed steps.

Author

Rick A McElderry Reply

February 11 2020

this is great info!!

Author

Brian Reply

August 02 2020

Thank for the helpful information! Google and Gmail have so many moving parts that your tutorial saved a lot of time. My Gmail account addr is different from the addresses I use on my server so I had to uncheck the alias box so that when people replied it would go back to my server instead of the gmail account.

    Author

    Tomislav T.

    Replied on November 06 2020

    Hey Brian! Happy to hear it helped! :)

Author

Eric Reply

August 27 2020

Hi can multiple gmail accounts link a single custom email? For example: Student A has already linked the custom email to their gmail account, can Student B, C, and D still be able to link the custom email to their OWN gmail account? Regards!

    Author

    Tomislav T.

    Replied on November 06 2020

    Hey Eric. That would depend on gmail. We don't have any restriction on it, just like you can login on multiple clients at once - but gmail may not allow the same email to be connected to more than 1 gmail accounts.

Author

Sumit Pandey Reply

September 04 2020

How to check emails received on custom email?, it does not exist.

    Author

    Tomislav T.

    Replied on November 11 2020

    Hey Sumit. You can check your emails via our webmail.

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